COVID-19 Temporary Procedures

 

Due to the current health crisis, some of the below processes have had to be adapted to keep our clients and ourselves safe.
Please refer to the Pricing page for more details.

How it Works

THE PROCESS

BOOK YOUR SESSION

The booking process starts with a pre-session questionnaire. Your responses help me learn more about your dog and what you would like to achieve. You can also include any questions or concerns at the bottom of the questionnaire or provide preferred dates. I am also able schedule a session that fits their needs. Followup questions will help fine tune your session to assist us in providing a fun and exciting portrait experience with beautiful images.

CONFIRM YOUR SESSION

Once the questionnaire is submitted, you will receive a list of available dates that will work best for your dog. Once the date is chosen, you will receive a portrait agreement electronically (via DocuSign) to review and sign. Then we will send out an invoice for your session fee via Paypal. (payment may be made using a Paypal account, or with any major credit card. Checks are also accepted.). Upon receipt of the signed agreement and session fee, your date is secured.

THE SESSION

We begin by taking the time to let your dog relax and get to know the space. I work with controlled studio lighting as well as simple props and backdrops. The focus is on your dog having a wonderful and relaxing portrait experience, so they can shine. We work at a pace that suits your dog and take frequent little breaks to make sure your dog doesn’t get tired or stressed. When I am working with your dog, it is important not to distract them, by calling their name, giving commands, or otherwise diverting their attention. If your dog doesn’t have a solid stay, I may incorporate your help, but otherwise, it’s best if you sit back and relax while I do my thing! Don’t worry; I don’t expect them to sit and listen all the time; I want them to stay relaxed and not feel restricted.

VIEWING AND ORDERING APPOINTMENT

Viewing appointments will be scheduled approximately 1 to 2 weeks after the session. This is the time when you see all your final images and make decisions on your portrait order. The ordering appointment takes place at the studio, where you will be able to see a variety of sample products. Your images are projected from a calibrated monitor onto a projection screen. We’ll help you sort through the images and make final decisions on what will look best with your decor and what fits your needs and budget. Specializing in custom Eco-products, we take the guesswork out of choosing ethically and environmentally friendly products. We have carefully selected the perfect product line that balances Eco-minded art with crafted with exceptional archival quality materials. To learn more about our product line, check out the Products page under “Info” in the menu above. We will work with you to choose your custom artwork, so you won’t be overwhelmed with options. It’s a good idea to consider your budget before the viewing appointment, so that we can help you make the most of it when choosing products that are right for you. For wall art, it is a good idea to consider where the art will hang and the size of the wall space.

YOUR ARTWORK

In about 2-6 weeks your order will be ready and will ship out to you (2-4 weeks for prints,  up to 6 weeks for handcrafted items). Then it’s time to enjoy your artwork and let it bring a smile to your face each day!

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Click the Get Started button below to begin the process! We only book a limited number of session per week, so that we can provide a top quality experience to our clients. Photo sessions are scheduled Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so plan in advance. Session fee is due at the time of booking and is non-refundable. We also require a signed agreement and model release before your session (you will receive these electronically via DocuSign). This is a home studio, so there are also some studio restrictions and requirements. A studio session is not right for every dog, by filling out the questionnaire, we can help determine if a studio session with Green Paws Photography is right for your dog.

 

READY TO BOOK YOUR SESSION?

WHY PHOTOGRAPHING DOGS INDIVIDUALLY IS BETTER

To get the best results, we recommend scheduling individual sessions for each dog. Individual sessions are easier to execute, less stressful for owners, and consistently result, not only in better images, but more to choose from. Individual sessions allow the photographer to give undivided attention to the dog, helping them be more relaxed, which equals better expression and portraits. Sessions with multiple dogs have a number of limiting factors, including technical, creative, and behavioral.

 

Technical Limitations

Unlike the human eye, cameras only capture a limited range of light and color. It can be very challenging to perfectly expose multiple dogs using the same light source with any consistency. Add in contrasting colors, different size dogs, etc., and the task becomes almost impossible.

 

Another technical consideration is focal distance. Modern DSLR cameras can only capture one focal distance at a time. When photographing a single dog, the primary focus is on the eyes. By doing this, the dog’s eyes are the sharpest part of the image and focus falls off gradually in front and behind. Therefore, when photographing two or more dogs, their eyes are not going to be on the same focal plane, so we must try to split the difference between the two. What this typically means is that neither dog is sharply in focus and the overall quality of the image is softer. That’s if the dogs are sitting side by side; if one dog is more forward or back, then we are focusing more on the front dog, with the rear dog becoming increasingly out of focus. The bottom line is, we compromise the quality of the portrait for quantity of subjects. One solution is to photograph the dogs separately on their own focal plane and composite them together. This is a timely and expensive endeavor to produce one image.

 

Behavioral Limitations

Putting aside the technical challenges of photographing multiple dogs, we also need to consider behavioral challenges. There is nothing more distracting to a dog, than another dog. Even if these dogs live together and spend most of their time together, they are still going to be watching and reacting to the other’s behavior and mood. If one dog is nervous, both dogs will be affected. This can be made even more complicated when one dog is being rewarded or stimulated with a treat or toy and the other is not.

 

Engaging one dog to stay, pose, and look at the camera is already a challenge. When you add another dog or two, it becomes futile and unproductive. The dogs are not only distracted by each other, they are often focusing on their owner to know what to do, which adds another level of distraction. This problem is often solved by photographing the dogs separately and compositing the image together, but as mentioned above, this is timely, which means much of your session time will be eaten up producing one image, and post-production will accrue additional costs.

 

What if your dogs are well trained and will do what is asked of them? This can certainly help in getting them to sit and stay, but it rarely results in natural relaxed expressions. Dogs with intermediate to advanced training are often rigid and focused on their owner, awaiting the next command, which can make it even more challenging to get them to relax.

 

Creative Limitations

Creatively speaking, your photographer is less likely to be able to create unique and original portraits of your dogs, if they are spending all their time trying to coordinate your dogs, as well as get and keep their attention. Something else to consider is composition. Dogs don’t have shoulders and tend to have most of their weight at the bottom when sitting, so when they sit next to each other, their heads are wide apart. To place them so they are both positioned in the frame, they would virtually be on top of each other. Some dogs may be happy to be bundled close, but invading the space of a nervous, aloof, or independent dog and you are unlikely to get cooperation and even less likely to get natural expressions.

 

For Best Results, Schedule Separate Sessions

While we are happy to accommodate client requests for photographing multiple dogs in one session, it is not something that we recommend. If you are looking for custom fine art portraits of your dogs, we strongly encourage you to schedule separate portrait sessions for each of your dogs. Ask us about special multi-session pricing!

PREPARING FOR YOUR SESSION

 

  • This is VERY important. For the weeks approaching your session, work with your dog on sit/stay/down commands. Use positive reinforcement and practice daily in short intervals (10-15 minutes). To get the best results, your dog needs to have a few basic commands mastered, including sit and stay. Advanced training is not necessary.
  • Bring your dog to the session a little tired and a little hungry. Plan to exercise your dog BEFORE the session. Just enough exercise to alleviate any over-excitement, but not so much that they are worn out for the session. Do this a few hours before the session to avoid excessive panting and drooling. Also, don’t feed your dog a full meal before a shoot; otherwise they will be less alert and more in the mood for a nap.
  • DO NOT BRING OUTSIDE FOOD OR TREATS TO THE STUDIO. I provide healthy homemade treats as part of your portrait experience. Please let me know if your dog has any allergies or diet restrictions.
  • Your dog should be bathed two days before and brushed out the day before. You know how your dog will look his or her best, but if you do choose to have your dog trimmed, we recommend you have that done a week before the sitting rather than a day or two prior in case the cut is too short, or not exactly what you expected. This allows a little time to grow out. A grooming and portrait session on the same day can be a lot of stress for many dogs, so try to avoid that as well.
  • If your dog has fur that grows or hangs over their eyes, you will want to either have it trimmed to allow their eyes to be seen, or have a clip or beret to hold it back. For a portrait to have impact, you want to connect with the subject and that is done through the eyes.
  • Please be sure to trim your dog's nails to avoid any scratches or damage to furniture, props, or flooring.
  • Feel free to bring a toy or two that your dog loves! If your dog is highly toy or ball obsessed, it is best to skip those.
  • If your dog is wearing clothing or other accessories for the session, make sure they try it on prior to the session to be sure it fits and is comfortable. I do not recommend dressing dogs up unless they are used to wearing clothes regularly and enjoy it!
  • Your tone of voice and body language translate very effectively to your dog and their mood. The photographer may ask you to assist during your session. If doing so, please remember to use compassionate authority. Never discipline or yell at your dog during a session, this will only increase their anxiety. With soothing talk, positive reinforcement and patient repetition, your dog will eventually figure out what we want them to do.
  • In the weeks leading up to your session, we also recommend exposing your dog to unique experiences. This is especially important if they do not like car rides, or only go in the car when visiting the vet or groomer. The more exposure they get to novel experiences, the more comfortable they will be in the studio.
  • We understand that some dogs have special needs; anxiety, fear of new things, nervousness/timidity, etc. Please make us aware of any issues your dog may have so that we can be sensitive to those concerns. You may want to schedule a studio visit prior to your session, so your dog gets to know the space and photographer ahead of time.
  • PLEASE NOTE: Some dogs can be sensitive to the studio lights. Most dogs get used to it very quickly, but some become stressed and fearful. In some cases, the dog just will not tolerate the studio and/or lights. If your dog becomes stressed or fearful, we will need to end the session. In most cases, you will receive a full refund of your session fee.

We want you and your dog to enjoy the experience and get wonderful pieces of art for your home! Please contact me with any other questions you may have.